Created by real-life brothers Jeff and Greg Schaffer, Brews Brothers is a new Netflix comedy series about two beer-brewing brothers attempting to resurrect a failing brewery.
It stars Alan Aisenberg (Gerber from Orange is the New Black) and improv comedian Mike Castle as brothers Wilhelm and Adam, with Carmen Flood and Marques Ray as bar staff Sarah and Chuy.
The Schaffer brothers come from good comedy stock.
Jeff is responsible for the iconic Festivus pole from Seinfeld, he directed several episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and was also the executive producer for the ninth season of the show.
He wrote and directed the 2004 teen comedy EuroTrip and also helped write Bruno (2009) and The Dictator (2012) starring Sacha Baron Cohen.
Greg has writing credits on a whole heap of comedy series, including Mad About You, The Tracy Morgan Show and That ’70s Show.
Brews Brothers focuses on the tension between the two estranged brothers.
Wilhelm is the easy-going owner of a brewery who is unexpectedly reunited with his uptight brother Adam, who comes in to help the business survive.
Adam’s motivations aren’t selfless: He’s been kicked out of Portland after burning all his bridges in the beer community with his abrasive manner and rude directness.
Under Sarah’s insistence, Wilhelm reluctantly agrees to Adam joining the team and, with great hesitation, even lets him move into his house.
The brewery is situated near an auto mechanic repair store, a presumed sex toy supplier, and there’s also a small food van parked out the front.
These other businesses allow for the introduction of side characters like the sex-crazed couple Elvis (Zach Reino) and Becky (Inanna Sarkis) that offer some lively interactions with the brewers.
The series has a fast pace, with each episode involving plenty of shenanigans that reveal more about the brothers’ relationship and Sarah’s colourful past as a champion mixed martial arts fighter.
Clocking in at 30 minutes per episode, it’s easy to power through the series – especially in this climate of self-isolation and endless Netflix-ing.
And while it’s founded on an interesting concept, the series often feels clunky and derivative.
Most of the humour seems directed by the lowest common denominator of comedy: Drunken monks defecating on the floor, Sarah being tricked into drawing a penis on a blackboard during a work meeting, or just cheap-shots fired between the warring brothers.
There are flickers of good comic timing, but it’s ultimately a very “bro” show.
It’s possible that Brews Brothers just suffers from a bad case of first-season nerves – and maybe it’ll hit its stride as the characters develop.
For now, why not crack open a tinny and sink into Joe Swanberg craft-brewery comedy Drinking Buddies (2013) or his TV series Easy for some more beer-brewing brothers.
If you prefer pinots over pints, share a fine bottle with Alexander Payne’s wine-tour roadmovie Sideways or join Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon for the Michael Winterbottom-directed TV series The Trip.
And you can always follow it up with the inevitable Hangover trilogy.